Does your home feel drab or dark? Are you tired of the same old rooms and color schemes? There are many easy, cost-effective ways to brighten your home’s appearance, cheering up its occupants in the process.

From fresh coats of paint to sunny lighting schemes to lively window treatments, small changes can have a big impact on your home. And some projects can be tackled in just one short weekend.

Window Treatments

By literally letting more light into your home, you can make your days more cheerful. Try replacing heavy drapes or dark-colored shades with translucent curtains or blinds. This way, you let in natural light while keeping prying eyes at bay.


Other ways to invite natural light into your home include adding internal windows within rooms to let light flow from one space to another, or installing skylights.

Energy-Efficient Accents

Your lighting scheme can set different moods in different rooms. To make a room both cheerful and efficient, use three different types of lighting: ambient — or background — lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. Stylish new options for background lighting abound, such as pendants, chandeliers, ceiling-mounted lights and new kinds of fixtures that can be hung in multiple ways.

LED lighting is perfect to illuminate places for reading, food preparation, dressing or other tasks. With a very long lifespan, such lights may never need to be replaced and can save you money on electricity bills because they are brighter with lower wattage.

The latest in accent lighting includes strings of remarkably thin LED light pods that can easily bend around corners and fit into small spaces, such as those from manufacturers like Kichler Lighting. This type of sleek, modern lighting adds drama when entertaining, while also lowering electricity costs.


“Accent lights like these use little energy so they can stay on all night, an added plus for homes with small children or when overnight guests visit,” says Jeff Dross, Kichler Lighting’s corporate director of education and industry trends. “No two homes are alike, and their lighting shouldn’t be either.”

Warmth and Color

Liven up rooms by selecting a bright color scheme. Paint sets the basic tone, so choose a light color, such as inviting yellows or cheery pastels. Remember, dark colors can absorb light and make rooms darker. You can paint an entire room a bright color or just one wall.

And you can add warmth as well as color by layering on pillows and throws to accent favorite pieces of furniture.

For more creative home decorating ideas, visit the American Society of Interior Designers at and click on “Consumer Center.” And for new energy-efficient home lighting ideas, visit


The brighter you make your home, the more cheerful it will become for you and your guests.